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9. Time Steps

Time Steps are, in a sense, yet another variation of the Cha Cha basic, as they are simply another combination of alternating breaks and chasses danced in closed position. They are often described as the Cha Cha version of Samba Whisks, or the International version of American style Fifth Position Breaks. What makes Time Steps unique is the various interpretations of timing and dance position often used with them.

The basic construction of a time step is a crossed back break (e.g. cross left foot behind right foot), followed by a chasse. Man and lady will remain in facing position and both cross one foot behind the other on count 2, replace weight to the front foot on 3, then chasse to the side on 4&1. The same can be done on opposite feet, and the sequence can be repeated as desired.

Time Steps may be danced in closed or open facing position, using tone and slight pressure through the arms and hands to lead the oppositional movement of the breaks. They can also be danced apart, typically following figures that can end apart such as Spot Turns, using a visual lead.

As an alternative to standard lead-and-follow, dancers can choose to improvise while apart. In this scenario, the man can dance one action of his choosing while the lady dances something else. The choice of actions in Bronze consists of Alternative Basic, Spot Turns (including variations such as Switch and Walkaround Turns), Time Steps, and Cuban Breaks.

A very popular interpretation of Time Steps is one that uses a variation of the normal timing, known as Guapacha (pronounced wah-pah-cha). In Guapacha timing, the first count is held an extra half beat, resulting in the rhythm 1 (2) AND 3, 4 and 1. Note that beat 2 in parenthesis is skipped, and the step normally taken on 2 is delayed until the following "AND" count. Watch the video clip of Guapacha timing, paying attention to how this timing tends to affect the interpretation of the movement. ** Note that guapacha timing is limited to the silver and above levels for most exams and competitions.


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